3D Printer Wars:
Black Arbs: Research
Table of Contents
• Concept (3)
• The Process Explained (4)
• The Market Ecosystem (5)
• 3d Printing Applications (6)
• Industries using 3d Printing Applications (7)
• Organizations utilizing 3d Printing (8)
• 3d Printing Methods (9-13)
• Market Size (14)
• Market Share (15)
• 3d Printing Industry in Context (16)
• Conclusion (17)
To create 3-dimensional objects using an additive
process. This process builds the object by stacking
individual layers. Layers are thinly sliced horizontal
cross sections composed of various powders, metals,
plastics and alloys.
The Process Explained
1. It begins with a digital computer aided design (CAD)
file created in software or scanned using input from
3d scanner(s). The software then formats the
design into the object layers to be sent to the
2. A 3d printer then constructs the object by stacking
the previously designed object layers. This is called
“additive manufacturing”. Compare that to
traditional subtractive processes including, cutting,
drilling, milling or machining.
• Manufacturers include: 3d Systems Corp (DDD), Stratasys
(SSYS), Organovo (ONVO), ARCAM AB (AMAVF), Ex One
(XONE) et al.
• Software Producers: Dassault Systemes SA (DASTY),
Parametric Technology (PMTC), Autodesk (ADSK), Trimble
• 3d Scanners/Metrology: Align Technologies (ALGN), 3m
(MMM), GE (GE), Faro (FARO)…
• Print and Deliver Services: Shapeways, Ponoko
• Collective Design/Model Repositories: ThingVerse, 3D Parts
Database, 3D Warehouse
3d Printing Applications
• Rapid Prototyping: fast design and construction of
objects used for R&D purposes. Ex. Car Companies,
• Rapid Manufacturing: direct manufacturing of
• Retail Customization: retail users can upload or input
personal goods via internet for single or limited
• Medical: development of medical uses in dental care,
prosthetics, bio printed tissues, and organ R&D.
Industries using 3d
Organizations utilizing 3d
• European Union
• Southampton University
• U.S. Army
• North Carolina State
• Knight Cancer Institute
• United Therapeutics
• University of Oxford
• Et al…
3d Printing Methods
• Stereolithography (SLA) – Invented by 3d systems
founder Charles Hull in 1986.
• SLA works by concentrating a beam of ultraviolet light
focused on surface of a Vat.
• Vat is filled with liquid photocurable photopolymer
• UV laser beam draws out the 3d model layer by layer,
hardening the slice as light hits the resin.
3d Printing Methods
• Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) – Invented by
Stratasys founder Scott Crump, late 1980’s.
• Object is produced by an extrusion nozzle extruding
small beads of melted thermoplastic material to form
layers that harden immediately.
• Most FDM printers print with ABS plastic, ex. Legos
which uses type PLA (Polylactic acid) which is
• FDM and “Fused Deposition Modeling” are trademarked
3d Printing Methods
• Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) – RepRap process
similar to FDM but slightly different to avoid
• Material is fed via filament from a spool of the material.
• Via filament FFF is able to construct the object
3d Printing Methods
• Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) – Process developed
by Carl Deckard et al in the 1980’s.
• Uses powdered materials: polystyrene, ceramics, glass,
nylon, steel, titanium, aluminum, silver.
• When a laser hits the powder it is fused at that point
(sintered). All un-sintered powder remains available for
the next print job.
3d Printing Methods -
• Selective Laser Melting (SLM) – similar to SLS but
fully melts the powder instead of fusing via a lower
• Electron Beam Melting (EBM) – uses an electron
beam instead of the UV laser used in SLS process.
• Laminated Object Manufacturing (LOM) – layers of
adhesive coated paper, plastic, or metal laminates are
successively glued together and cut to shape with a
knife or laser cutter.
2011 2012 2013E 2014E 2015E 2016E 2017E 2018E 2019E 2020E 2021E
Global Revenue (lhs) Growth (rhs)
Wohlers’, an industry consulting group, has estimated global revenues will approach $6 billion by 2017 and
10.8 billion by 2021. Here I have backed out the global growth rates based on publicly available excerpts
from their extensive report.
3d Printer MarketShare est.
Using Wohlers’ estimated total industry revenue in 2012 of $2.2 billion dollars, we can back out an estimated market
share for some of the well known publicly traded manufacturers.
3d Printing Industry in
In 2011 the World Bank estimated global GDP at $70.4
trillion. Of this global manufacturing contributed almost
Of the ~$12 trillion in GDP contributed by global
manufacturing only ~$1.7 billion came from additive/3d
printing or 0.014%!
$ Contribution to Global GDP
GDP Total Global
GDP All Other
$ Contributionto Global
Manufacturing ex. 3d
• The industry has existed for almost 30 years but recent advances in technology have led to rapid
innovation in retail, commercial, and medical applications that have the industry poised to almost
triple by 2017 (Wohlers).
• Two firms dominate the industry based on sales – 3d Systems (16% market share), Stratasys (10%).
But there are many other firms contributing to the 3d printing ecosystem that may or may not be
public, and may or may not be exclusive to the 3d printing industry.
• Currently manufacturers are looking to find ways to integrate additive manufacturing in their
production process as they have found significant cost reductions in prototyping, industrial design,
custom orders, and some direct production of finished goods.
• The industry is in its infancy and has immense potential for growth on an absolute and relative basis.
As a percentage of global manufacturing GDP, 3d printing contributed a paltry 0.014% in 2011. As
new applications are discovered and old processes refined a hypothetical increase to 1% of global
manufacturing GDP would grow the market to $119 billion or 70x larger than it was in 2011.
• 3d printing has the manufacturing sector’s support due to its actualized and unrealized potential to
reduce production and time costs; to innovate, customize, and prototype; to create previously
impossible design structures, and this presents a tailwind to a secular growth opportunity similar to
the pc revolution.
• Perhaps the greatest commercial opportunity lies within the healthcare sector. Currently researchers
at universities, firms, and public institutions are collaborating to develop 3d printers capable of
replicating the native structure and processes of cells and eventually organs. The potential in this
area to improve the human condition cannot be overstated.
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